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    What a word! I am in awe before it. Over what worlds on worlds it hath range and is sovereign! the un250250:1derived, the incomparable, the infinite All of good, the alone God, is Love.

3    By what strange perversity is the best become the most abused, — either as a quality or as an entity? Mortals misrepresent and miscall affection; they make it what 6it is not, and doubt what it is. The so-called affection pursuing its victim is a butcher fattening the lamb to slay it. What the lower propensities express, should be 9repressed by the sentiments. No word is more misconstrued; no sentiment less understood. The divine significance of Love is distorted into human qualities, 12which in their human abandon become jealousy and hate.

    Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken 15down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand 18achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or 21goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, 24ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the 27gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth.

251:1Address on the Fourth of July at Pleasant View, Concord, N. H., before 2,500 Members 3of The Mother Church, 1897

    My beloved brethren, who have come all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic shore, from the Palmetto to the 6Pine Tree State, I greet you; my hand may not touch yours to-day, but my heart will with tenderness untalkable.

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